Tribute to a Jersey Cow

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When you help someone out you’ll often expect a gift in return. Sometimes a card, some nice flowers, or even a box of chocolates. But I was given the gift of a Jersey cow.
At just 8 years old my days were spent eat, sleeping and breathing cows. I’m pretty sure I had more cow-contact than human contact but surely that can’t be a bad way to live.
One evening whilst alone in our cow shed one of the girls, Charlotte, came into calf. Something wasn’t right. The owners lived in Sussex, there were heavy restrictions at the time due to Foot and Mouth, so we called the only person with such cow expertise, a lady called Sandy. She came, she calved, she conquered.

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It was soon decided that this gorgeous little fudge coloured heifer calf would too, be named Sandy.
(Don’t worry, she returned the favour later on and named one of her Limousins Alice).
Once Foot and Mouth had passed and movement restrictions were lifted, the herd moved on. I was heartbroken to see my childhood best friends gone but a letter I received alleviated some of that pain. At just 10 years I was now the proud owner of my very own Jersey cow.

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Growing up with Sandy was a pleasure. My friends loved nothing more than coming round to brush, ride or cuddle Sandy.
Call me biased but i think Jerseys are the most magical breed. With their thick black eyelashes, gorgeous coats and lovely black tails. As I’ve always been told, if you’re going to have livestock, get something pretty, you have to look at it everyday. The fact their thick, creamy, gold top milk is positively delectable is just another bonus.

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Now I don’t know about you but when I think of a Jersey cow I think of a loving, docile girl with a sweet, warm breath. Sandy did not receive this memo and at times she possessed the devil inside her. If she was feeling playful or a bit cheesed off you’d better hope you had a fence between you.

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Sandy has been consistently there for me throughout my entire teenage-hood and way over half of my life. When things got confusing, frustrating or stressful there was nothing better to do than go and lie down in the field with her and cuddle.
Today I cuddled Sandy for the very last time.

Watching her come into the world and then leave it 13 years later was heartbreaking.
With the personality and body of a cow over half her age the shock still hasn’t hit.
Now not many people would keep a cow as a pet, not many people would play football with their cow, not many people would understand how important a cow can be, and not many people would write a blog about it. But then not many have had a cow like my Sandy.

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I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards John at Westpoint Veterinary Group for being so efficient, kind and sensitive during Sandy’s last hours.

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A Day of Clays

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After a year of deliberation and postponement, today I was finally able to attend a day clay pigeon shooting with the Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club in the beautiful grounds of West Kent Shooting School.

Not long established, the Chelsea Bun Club was set up by the gorgeous Victoria Knowles-Lacks in 2012 with the intention of getting more ladies involved in shooting and has gone from strength to strength.

Having heard such positive reviews I believed it would be good but I was slightly dubious. Could it really be that good? Well, it turns out the answer was yes. It really, really could.

Feeling slightly nervous upon arrival I was welcomed by smiling faces, friendly chatter and tea in abundance. Soon after we were quickly assigned to our groups of beginners, intermediate and advanced guns before the shooting commenced.

The instructors were top notch, no faffing, straight to the point and probably beat any clay lesson I’ve ever had.

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With clays flying from all angles beginners got to get a real feel of the sport whilst the experienced guns were able to challenge themselves.

Blessed with gorgeous sunshine, the grounds echoed with supportive cheers, claps, hoots and pure delight. People that had never touched a gun in their lives were obliterating clays all over the place. There was no feeling of superiority or arrogance, just pure sisterhood.

Once shooting was over it was time for the second best part of the day-CAKE.

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There was Victoria sponges, red velvet, chocolate, walnut, muffins; the list is mouth wateringly endless. Using beautifully delicate fine china it was the perfect ladies tea party.. with a slight gunpowdery twist.

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After much cake was devoured we had the extreme privilege of meeting world record breaker and gold medallist Abbey Burton. There she told us of her shooting experience, threw in a little motivational talk, and presented the winners with their rosettes. We even got to hold her prize gun.

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In just four short (but wonderful) hours my shooting technique and confidence was boosted, my stomach was satisfied and I found myself a wonderful new group of friends.

So if you’ve never touched a gun in your life or if you were born and bred on a grouse moor in Yorkshire I urge you, maybe even plead you to sign up for a day with the Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club for the good of not just your soul, but womankind.

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